Location: Huntly, Waikato, North Island, New Zealand
Surnames/tags: Mining_Disasters New Zealand Disasters
History and Circumstances
Originally a Māori settlement called Rāhui Pōkeka, Huntly became a military outpost during the Waikato Wars and later grew to become a mining settlement.
After the Waikato and Land Wars some of the soldiers were granted land in the area. Most of the grants were 50 acres/20.2 hectares, and were on the east side of the river. This was the beginning of the settlement of Huntly.
The name of Huntly came from the postmaster, James Henry in 1870 when he used the post stamp from his home town of Huntley Lodge, Scotland. Eventually the "lodge" and "e" were dropped from the name.
The Ralph family was also one of our early families, and began working the first mine in the east side of the river. While mining this site, on the hill behind today's brickworks, fire-clay was discovered. A brickworks was then established. This brick went into the building of buildings around Huntly, many of which still stand like the Huntly War Memorial Hall.
Huntly expanded when commercial coal mining began. In 1874 Captain Anthony Ralph, a former Waikato militiaman who had been granted land nearby, registered the Taupiri Coal Mining Company, and Ralph’s mine opened in 1876. Companies owned by the Ralph family dominated the industry until the 1940s.
Huntly developed as a tight-knit working-class community. Many miners came from the South Island’s West Coast, and the north of England and Scotland. Local Māori also entered the industry in large numbers. Huntly miners stopped work for three months during the 1913 general strike. On 12 September 1914, 43 miners were killed in an explosion in Ralph’s mine.
Brick making began at Huntly in 1884. The dominant firm, the Huntly Brick and Fireclay Company, was established in 1911. After several name changes, it was still operating in the 2010s as Shinagawa Refractories. Many buildings in the town are made of Huntly brick, including the Masonic Lodge, St Paul’s Anglican church, and the former Huntly Hospital, and it is a widely used building material throughout the region..
- Mine History
- Mine Disaster Circumstances
- Investigation Report
On the 19 April 2009, a memorial board listing all the victims of the Ralph Mine disaster was unveiled at the Huntly Cemetery.
|Name||Occupation||Age||Approx DOB||Status||Family Left||Notes/Aka|
|ALLEN, William||Machine Boy||18||1896||Single|
|BERRY, Thomas||Winch driver||29||1885||Single||Body recovered in the sump in No 7 Level|
|BLENKINSOP, William||Shooter||37||1877||Married||Widow & 4 children under 14 years||BLENKINSOPP|
|BROCKLEBANK, William Snr||Shooter||52||1862||Married||Widow & 1 child under 14||Son survived with some injuries|
|BURTON, William||Trucker||27||1887||Married||Widow & 2 children under 14 years|
|DARBY, James||Deputy||57||1857||Married||Widow & grown up family|
|DIXON, John||Married||Widow & 2 children under 14 years (In Australia)|
|GOWANS, William||Under manager||43||1871||Married||Widow & 1 child under 14|
|GREENER, John||Shiftman||48||1866||Married||Widow & grown up family|
|Hinchco, William||Shiftman||37||1877||Married||Widow & 2 children|
|HOLDEN, James||Shiftman||58||1856||Married||Widow & 1 child under 14|
|HOPPER, Fawcett Seymour||Trucker||31||1883||Married||Widow & 2 children under 14|
|IZATT, Alexander||Onshovers assistant||17||1897||Single||Died in Hamiton Hospital|
|JACKSON, Henry||Clipper||24||1890||Single||John's Brother; Samuel's son|
|JACKSON, John||26||1888||Henry's Brother; Samuel's son|
|JACKSON, Samuel||Shiftman||54||1860||Married||Widow & 1 child under 14||Severely burned - Died Waikato Hospital; 2 sons also died|
|KELLY, William||Contractor||36||1878||Married||Widow & 1 child under 14|
|LYONS, Daniel||Shiftman||62||1852||Married||Grown up family|
|MAYLAND, William Jnr||Clipper||18||1896||Single|
|MOLESWORTH, Theophilus||Engine-driver||29||1885||Married||Widow & 1 child under 14|
|PATERSON, David||Roadsman||36||1878||Married||Widow & 5 children under 14 years|
|PATTERSON, William||Contractor||44||1870||Married||Leaves 7 motherless children|
|PECKHAM, Henry||Senior deputy||45||1869||Married||Widow & 7 children under 14 years|
|RANSON, Hugh||Road-cleaner||39||1875||Married||Widow & 1 grown up daughter|
|ROBINSON, John||Trucker||28||1886||Married||Widow & 1 child under 14|
|ROPER, William||36||1878||Married||Widow & 4 children under 14 years (In England)|
|RUSTON, Arthur||Roadman||28||1886||Married||Widow & 1 child under 14|
|SKELLERN, John C.||Deputy||36||1878||Married||Four motherless children|
|SMITH, William||Deputy||62||1852||Married||Widow & grown up family|
|STEELE, John||Roundsman||40||1874||Married||Widow & 5 children under 14 years|
|TAYLOR, Fred||Winch driver||29||1885||Married||Widow & 1 child under 14|
|WHORSKEY, John||Deputy||36||1878||Married||Widow & 6 children||WHORSKLY (WHORSKY)|
|Beckham, Alf||Severely burned|
|Brocklebank, Jr, William||Considerably cut & bruised|
|Brownlee, Joseph||Escaped without Injury||BROWNLIE|
|Easby, Thomas||Escaped without Injury||EARBY|
|Farrar, A||Escaped without Injury|
|Fletcher, Daniel||Escaped without Injury|
|Healey, Bernard||Bruised arm|
|Mcgill, Patrick||Escaped without Injury|
|Mcintosh, Alexander||Escaped without Injury|
|Mitchell, William A||Escaped without Injury|
|Mottram, Glen||Body bruised and leg injured|
|O'Brien, Joseph||Burned hands|
|Richards, James||Escaped without Injury|
|Stewart, Albert||Escaped without Injury|
|Tollan, John||Escaped without Injury||TALLON|
|Wilkie, John||Escaped without Injury|
|Young, James||Escaped without Injury|
Others Involved/Supporters and the Aftermath
- ↑ Huntly Info
- ↑ Nancy Swarbrick, 'Waikato places - Huntly', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand
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